October 23, 2018

Archives for June 2018

“Brilliant,” Essex Art Association’s Summer Exhibition, on View Through July 21

‘Mom’s Basket’ by Steven Wells is one of the signature paintings of the artist’s solo show in the Gantner Gallery at the Essex Art Association.

ESSEX — The July show at the Essex Art Association (EAA) is an Open Exhibition and welcomes all area artists to submit up to two pieces of artwork for display. This type of show offers the public a viewing experience with a wide spectrum of subjects, styles and mediums.

The show is juried for awards only, with the EAA distributing $1800 in nine categories. In addition, one artist will be awarded a solo exhibit in the EAA Gantner Gallery during the 2019 gallery season. 

The exhibit’s opening reception is Friday, June 29, from 6 to 8 p.m. The show runs June 30  through July 21. The EAA Gallery is located at 10 North Main Street, Essex, CT. Gallery hours are 1-5 pm daily, closed Tuesdays. For more information visit essexartassociation.com or call 860-767-8996.

The exhibit theme “Brilliant” invites artists to share their most ingenious and insightful artwork reflecting expressions of dynamic composition, luminous color or any personal inspiration.

The Gantner Gallery exhibit, “Perspective of Portland, My Home Town,” features the work of Steven Wells of Portland, Conn. Wells has enjoyed portraying familiar and unique perspectives in and around his home town the better part of his life.  This Paier College of Art student, after teaching art classes on and off for a few years, set aside his passion for watercolors to create with a different medium, hammer and nail, having been a professional building contractor for over 40 years.

Throughout his time designing, renovating, and creating homes in and around Portland, Wells never truly “put down the brush” as he would use the winter months to pick up where he left off, pursuing what he enjoys most, which is painting.

His profound ability to capture the essence of life and nature was undoubtedly nurtured by his mother Lois, a tremendous watercolorist of her own. They loved to share creative moments while they worked on their latest pieces.  

Becoming a member of the Essex Art Association and participating in their exhibitions has been a welcoming experience and allowed him to share, through his eyes, the artist behind the hammer.

Exhibition juror, Douglas Deveny is an abstract expressionist who attended the Art Institute of Atlanta and Savannah College of Art and Design. He graduated with a B.S. in Art Education from Southern Connecticut State University – Summa Cum Laude.

Deveny says, “My work is non-objective. I like to explore the complexity in simplicity by use of texture and color. I am intrigued by the beauty of deteriorated surfaces, happenstance and patina. Each painting incorporates a variety of techniques and countless layers of acrylic and mixed media, with a constant accumulation and reduction of materials, until each piece finds its own end.”

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Essex Library Receives $20,000 Gift

The Friends of Essex Library recently presented Library Director Richard Conroy with a $20,000 check.

ESSEX — The Friends of the Essex Library presented a $20,000 check to library Director Richard Conroy at their Annual Meeting held on June 13.  This generous gift was made possible thanks to the hard work of a dedicated group of volunteers who put in countless hours organizing book sales, and working on highly successful fund raisers such as the “Festival of Dinner Parties” held in the fall of 2017 and recent tour of “Our Friends Gardens.” 

“Quite simply, the Library could not offer the level of services we provide if it weren’t for the vital financial support we receive from our Friends” said Conroy, who marveled at how vibrant the organization has become over the past few years.  He offered special thanks to outgoing Friends President Jo Kelly for being “the sparkplug” that has kept the group on task during her tenure.  He also mentioned that he looked forward to working with incoming President Suzy Baird. 

In addition to their usual fall and spring book sales the Friends are hard at work planning upcoming fund-raising events such as a Swallow Cruise in September, and Library Mini-Golf in January.  To learn more about the Friends, or how to become one, visit their webpage at: www.youressexlibrary.org/friends/.

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Area Legislators to Host Lyme Disease Prevention Forum in East Haddam Tomorrow

EAST HADDAM — State Representatives Melissa Ziobron (R-34), Devin Carney (R-23) and Robert Siegrist (R-36) will be hosting an informational forum presented by the BLAST Tick-borne Prevention Program to address Lyme Disease prevention.

The forum will take place on Wednesday, June 27, 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the East Haddam Grange Hall, 488 Town Street, East Haddam.

The event is open to the public and no registration is required.

The BLAST Tick-borne Prevention Program was developed in 2008 by the Ridgefield, CT Public Health Department, BLAST stands for: Bathe after outdoor activity, Look for Ticks and rashes, Apply repellent, Spray the yard and Treat pets.

The legislators can be reached by phone (800) 842-1423 or online at www.repziobron.comwww.repcarney.com andwww.repsiegrist.com.

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Community Picnic, Free Concert at CBSRZ This Afternoon, All Welcome

‘The Cluppin Spielers’ will perform at the Community Picnic at CBSRZ this afternoon.

CHESTER — Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek’s (CBSRZ) open to the public annual community picnic and free concert presents The Cluppin Spielers (“Clapping Players”), the new CBSRZ house band that will bring us an exceptional concert, on Sunday, June 24, at 5 p.m.

Performing a mix of old and new, The Cluppin Spielers’ repertoire draws on the traditional melodies of Eastern European Klezmer, contemporary Jewish Bluegrass known as “JewGrass,” and Americana Folk. Regardless of the genre, the group’s lively, toe-tapping melodies leave audiences laughing, smiling, and clapping.

Although there is no charge for the performance, concertgoers will have plenty of grilled summer fare to purchase and other foods with proceeds benefiting local charitable organizations. In the event of rain, the music will be moved inside. Bring your own entrée if you wish (out of respect for CBSRZ kosher dietary restrictions, please no shellfish or pork products).

Jointly produced by our Music & More and Social Action committees, it is intended not only as a joyous music treat, but something that will benefit those in need. No reservations are necessary.

Klezmer is largely dance songs for weddings, often sung in Yiddish.  The word Klezmer comes from two Hebrew words, kleizemer meaning “vessels of song”.  Over time the term klezmer referred to musical instruments, and later to the musicians themselves.  The music of Klezmer swings and gets you on your feet.

As Klezmorim brought their yiddish “folk” sounds and merged them with American culture, contemporary Jewish musicians are now taking part in a growing trend to combine Jewish spirituals with Americana – typically thought of as blue grass, folk and country music to create a new genre known as “JewGrass”.   Traditional and contemporary Jewish musicians have in common the desire to push the boundaries of what’s expected, forging new ways of telling stories.  After all, storytelling is second nature to Judaism, a perfect match for Americana folk tunes.

The member group consists of musicians who were in A Klez Act, the previous congregation house band that has entertained audiences since 1993, as well as musicians who made folk music together when celebrating at the installation ceremony of the current Rabbi, Marci Bellows in 2016.  In bringing the two groups together as one, CBSRZ joins fellow artists on the musical journey to tell stories in fun, new ways.

The Cluppin Spielers’ members include Melinda Alcosser – percussion;  Steven Barasz – vocals, guitar; Billy Bertelli – drums; Belinda Brennan – vocals, mandolin; Meg Gister – vocals, keyboard; Neil Gottfried – vocals, guitar, clarinet; Norman Hanenbaum – saxophone; Lori Jubelirer – bass guitar; Deb Rutty, vocals; Norman Rutty – vocals, 12 string guitar; Marcy Saltzman – vocals, banjello; Joel Saltzman – guitar; Pat Smith – percussion; Shelley Sprague – vocals, guitar; Dave Zeleznik – banjo.

The location of this free concert and community picnic is at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek, 55 East Kings Highway, Chester, Connecticut.

For more information, visit www.cbsrz.org/engage/events or call the CBSRZ office at 860-526-8920.

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Last Chance to See ‘A Night with Janis Joplin’ at Ivoryton Playhouse This Afternoon

Paige MacNamara plays Janis Joplin in the production about the legendary singer’s life opening at Ivoryton Playhouse, May 30. Photos by Curtis Brown.

ESSEX — The Ivoryton Playhouse will present the 2014 Tony Award-nominated 2013 Broadway Musical A Night With Janis Joplin, written and directed by Randy Johnson, from May 30 to June 24.

Born in Port Arthur, Texas, in 1943, Janis Lyn Joplin challenged racial and sexual stereotypes, and created a sound and a style that has become legendary. She exploded onto the music scene in 1967 and, almost overnight, became the queen of rock and roll. The unmistakable voice, filled with raw emotion and tinged with more than a touch of Southern Comfort made her a must-see headliner from Monterey to Woodstock

Her unique sound, however, was originally created as a result of her love for some of the greatest African-American singers of all time. Now, theatergoers can share an evening with the Queen of Rock and Roll and her musical influences in A Night with Janis Joplin

On Jan. 12, 1995, when she was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, her profile proclaimed, “Janis Joplin’s star rose fast, burned bright and burned out too soon. The blues-influenced rocker had one of the most powerful voices of the Sixties. Her voice is equal parts tough and vulnerable, a shout into the void that resonated with a generation.” Joplin biographer Myra Friedman added, “It wasn’t only her voice that thrilled, with its amazing range and strength and awesome wails. To see her was to be sucked into a maelstrom of feeling that words can barely suggest.”

A Night with Janis Joplin made its Broadway debut, under the direction of Randy Johnson, on Oct. 10, 2013 at the Lyceum Theatre, where it played for 140 performances before closing on Feb. 9, 2014. Mary Bridget Davies, who made her Broadway debut in the title role, earned a 2014 Tony Award nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical, and won a 2014 Theatre World Award for her critically acclaimed performance.

Aurianna Tuttle plays Etta James in ‘A Night with Janis Joplin.’

Sharing the lead role of Janis Joplin in this production are Francesca Ferrari* and Paige McNamara*. The cast also includes Aurianna Angelique*, Jennifer Leigh Warren*, Tawny Dolley*, and Amma Osei* who take on the roles of the many women who influenced Janis – Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Bessie Smith, Nina Simone and many more.

A Night with Janis Joplin opens at the Ivoryton Playhouse on May 30 and runs through June 24. Original direction by Randy Johnson, original set design by Brian Prather, original lighting design by Ryan O’Gara, original projections by Darrel Maloney, original costume designs by Amy Clark and original wig designs by Leah Loukas. This production is co-directed by Tyler Rhodes. Musical Director is Michael Morris.

Performance times are Wednesday and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. Evening performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.

Tickets purchased before June 1 are $50 for adults, $45 for seniors, $22 for students and $17 for children and are available by calling the Playhouse box office at 860-767-7318 or by visiting the Playhouse’s website at www.ivorytonplayhouse.org. After June 1, tickets are $55 for adults and $50 for seniors. (Group rates are available by calling the box office for information.)

The Playhouse is located at 103 Main Street in Ivoryton.

*denotes member of Actors Equity

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Haddam Garden Club Hosts a Vineyard Afternoon in Higganum Today

HADDAM — In case you haven’t heard the buzz, the Haddam Garden Club is hosting A Vineyard Afternoon on Saturday, June 23 from 4 to 7 p.m. at RubyBelle Vineyard in Higganum.  It promises to be a beautiful afternoon (and if it isn’t, there is a rain date of Sunday, June 24) at which you can mingle with friends old and new while you sample abundant hors d’oeuvres and, of course, wine. 

There will be talks on the grape culture and the process of wine making by Maurice Adams, how to pair wine with food by Laura Grimmer of The Perfect Pear in Chester, while vineyard owner, Stew Gillmor will be on hand to give tours and answer questions. 

All this takes place in the stunning setting of RubyBelle Vineyard off Brainerd Hill in Higganum.  The magnificent gardens are worth a tour on their own merit.

Preregistration is strongly urged, as space is limited.  Tickets are $30 per person.  To access the registration form or for more information, visit this link.

For more information about Haddam Garden Club, visit their website at this link.  

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‘Fire Truck Pull’ to be Held at ‘Relay for Life’ Today

Do you want to pull a fire truck? Do you and 11 friends want to pit yourself against major tonnage for a good cause?

AREAWIDE — The American Cancer Society’s Fire Truck Pull at the Relay For Life of HK will take place on Saturday, June 23, at Haddam-Killingworth High School (HKHS.)  The event is a team-building, fundraising, cancer-fighting event where teams of 12 people compete to pull the truck a designated distance in the fastest time.

You and other groups in the area are challenged to step up to the rope and show Middlesex County who can Pull For a Cure with the fastest time.

How does it work?

Teams will rally together to raise money however they see fit. The minimum amount of money that a team must raise is $1,200 (or $100 per person) to participate. All funds raised benefit the mission of the American Cancer Society to save lives, celebrate lives and lead the fight for a world free from cancer.

The winning team will receive bragging rights and a trophy.

There will also be the traditional Relay For Life walk-a-thon on the HKHS track. The soft opening ceremony will be at 12 noon. There will be a Survivor Ceremony and dinner, luminaria and much more.

If you are interested in volunteering or would like more information, contact Cate Reid from the American Cancer Society at Catherine.reid@cancer.org.

To register, visit www.relayforlife.org/hkct

For more information, call Alexis Maliga at 203.379.4827 or email at Alexis.Maliga@cancer.org

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‘Imagination Playground’ Starts at Deep River Public Library, Wednesday

DEEP RIVER — The Deep River Public Library is kicking off their Summer Reading program, Library’s Rock with Imagination Playground, on Wednesday, June 27 at 5:30 p.m. The program will feature a 90-minute building session with Imagination Playground’s Large Blue Blocks.

Frank Way from Real.Good.Play. will guide participants through the building process, teaching children ages 2 through 11 cooperative, constructive play. There is no registration for this program.

For more information, visit http://deepriverlibrary.accountsupport.comand click on the monthly calendar, or call the library at 860-526-6039 during service hours: Monday 1 – 8pm; Tuesday 10 am – 6 pm; Wednesday 12:30 – 8 pm; Thursday and Friday 10 am – 6 pm; and Saturday 10 am – 5 pm.

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Gencarella Shares ‘Wicked, Weird, and Wily Yankees’ at CT River Museum Tomorrow

ESSEX — On Tuesday, June 19, at 5:30 pm, join Stephen Gencarella as he shares some of his fantastic stories of the prophets, vagabonds, fortune-tellers, hermits, lords, and poets who shaped New England.  New England has been a lot of things–an economic hub, a cultural center, a sports mecca–but it is also home to many of the strangest individuals in America.  Wicked, Weird, & Wily Yankees explores and celebrates the eccentric personalities who have left their mark in a way no other book has before.

Some folks are known and others not so much, but the motley cast of characters that emerges from the pages of his book represents a fascinating cross-section of New England’s most peculiar denizens.  Listen as Steve tells the tales of the Leather Man and the Old Darned Man, who both spent years crisscrossing the highways and byways of the northeast, their origins and motivation to remain forever unknown.  

Delve into the magnificent homes of William Gillette and Madame Sherri, famed socialites who constructed enormous castles in the New England countryside.  Learn of William Sheldon’s apocalyptic prophecies and wild claims including that the American Revolution had hastened the end of the world and that he could, through his mastery of the “od-force” prevent cholera across the eastern United States. 

And find out about the mysterious fortune-teller Moll Pitcher whose predictions, some say, were sought by European royalty and whose fame made her the subject of poems, plays, and novels long after her death. 

Stretching back to the colonial era and covering the development and evolution of New England society through the beginning of the 21st century, this book captures the rebel spirit, prickly demeanors, and wily attitudes that have made the region the hotbed for oddity it is today.  This event is free and the program begins at 5:30 p.m. 

The Connecticut River Museum is located at 67 Main Street on the Essex waterfront and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Museum, located in the historic Steamboat Dock building, offers exhibits and programs about the history and environment of the Connecticut River.

For a full listing of Museum programs, visit www.ctrivermuseum.org or call 860-767-8269.

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Letter From Paris: Exhibition Explores Work of American Female Artist in Male World of French Impressionism

Nicole Prévost Logan

“Mary Cassatt (1844-1926) was the most French of all American artists,” said art historian Jerome Coignard.  She was the only woman – along with Berthe Morisot – to be recognized by the Impressionist movement and therefore permitted to show her works in their annual Salons. 

A rare photograph of Mary Cassatt — supposedly the only photograph for which she ever posed.

For 40 years she developed a personal and artistic friendship with Edgar Degas, which was somewhat surprising considering Degas was well known for his misogyny.  Her long association with the famous art merchant Paul Durand Ruel, especially after he opened a gallery on Madison Avenue, increased the exposure of impressionism in the US.

The Jacquemart-André Museum in Paris is currently holding a retrospective exhibition of monographs by Mary Cassatt titled, ‘An American Impressionist in Paris.’  It is a long overdue recognition of an artist whose works are found mostly in the US, but who is better known in France.  Jacquemart-André is one of the most elegant art galleries in Paris.  It was built in the 1860s as one of the townhouses of the imperial aristocracy in the “plaine Monceau” (an area of Paris in the 17th arrondissement.)

The property is slightly set back from Boulevard Haussmann, and on the upper level, opens up onto a vast courtyard under the watchful eyes of two stone lions.  The magnificent residence, with its eclectic furniture, boiseries (wood wall paneling), fireplaces and Gobelins tapestries, used to attract thousands of guests from the high society.

In the West Wing of the Metroplitan Museum in New York, paintings by Cassatt are hung in a gallery exclusively reserved for the works of other women.  Cassatt might have been upset by this apparent patronization by critics and art historians toward domestic scenes created by women.  She might have deemed it unfair because painters like Edouard Vuillard (1868-1940) or Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947) are famous for their paintings inspired by the intimacy of the home. 

Art historian Guillaume Morel comments that the many mother and child scenes painted by Cassatt were, in fact, more feminist than it appears at first.  He writes that she may have found herself endowed with a mission to represent scenes to which men did not have access.  Her “maternity scenes” effectively propelled her into modernism.

La Loge (The Theatre Box) by Mary Cassatt.

At the turn of the 20th century, women were tied to their homes, seemingly leading an indolent existence limited to feminine activities, primarily the care of small children.  They almost never ventured onto the public place – like a café, race track or a prostitute’s haunt.  The subject in “La Loge (The theater box)” (1878) is a departure from this tradition: a self-assured woman is by herself looking through her opera-glasses, and apparently unconcerned by the male spectator staring at her from another balcony.

Even in France, the obstacles inflicted on women artists were enormous: they were neither allowed in the Ecole des Beaux Arts nor were naked models permitted in their art classes.  Women could not copy the grands maitres (Old Masters) in museums like the Louvre.

The special talent of Cassatt was to have overcome these obstacles by taking advantage of her place in the privileged class, traveling extensively and establishing contacts with members of the artistic elite such as Isabella Stewart Gardner (Boston), Alfred Atmore Pope (Connecticut) or Henry Walters (Baltimore.)

From a very young age, she rebelled against the formal teaching offered in the few fine art institutions open to women.  She hated the idea of learning her craft through the use of castings and copies.  She showed an intrepid personality when she told her father she wanted to pursue her artistic education in Europe.  Her father admonished her, saying, “I would rather see you dead.”

And her response to her father’s threat?  She went anyway.

Cassatt was born in Pittsburgh into a well-to-do family.  Her father was an investment banker and her mother was educated in a school created by a former chambermaid of Marie Antoinette.  At the age of seven, she sailed for the first time to Europe with her family.  David McCullough, in his superb book titled The Greater Journey, published in 2011, describes the luxury steamers carrying less than 300 privileged passengers, who could afford the crossing in comfortable accommodations in an “interior richly embellished with satin wood, gilded ceilings … and indoor plumbing.”

The co-curator of the present exhibit held in Paris,  Nancy Mowell Mathews, rejects the expression “woman Impressionist.”  She comments, “Mary Cassatt did not paint differently from other Impressionists.  What she had in common with them was her taste for rough sketches, the unfinished feel of strokes and her daring cadrages (framing of the subject) mostly used in photography or  cinematography.”

‘The little girl in the blue armchair’ was painted in 1878 by Mary Cassatt.

Cassatt’s models – mostly members of her family – do not pose in a stilted attitude, but appear relaxed and natural.  In “The little girl in a blue armchair” (1878), the little girl is literally sprawling on a big, shapeless, overstuffed blue armchair.  And so is the small boy looking at us in the painting called, “Woman sitting with a child in her arms. 

‘The Cup of Tea’ is a classic Impressionist work by Mary Cassatt.

“The Cup of Tea “(1880) is an unsurpassed exercise in Impressionist virtuosity.  Fast brush strokes  and the rejection of details are sufficient to render volumes.   The dramatic contrast between the fluffy, pink dress and the black of the solid armchair creates a strong composition.  In 1879, Cassatt was officially accepted in the Impressionist Salon.  The two following decades marked the summit of her career. 

Although Cassatt painted mostly in oils and pastels, Degas had also detected her exceptional talent as both draughtsman and engraver.  Her eaux-fortes (etchings) constitute a large part of her works, while “La Toilette” and “The letter ” (both dated 1891) show signs of japonism.  The engraving process with a pointe-sèche (dry point) is a painstaking and dangerous process since acid is used.

She was the friend of the most influential American feminists and joined their movement for equality, which had started in the US in 1840.  Toward the end of her life, she increasingly devoted her time to counseling American art collectors.  Among them was her close friend Lousine Hvenmeyer, wife of wealthy sugar baron, who owned more than 2,000 Impressionist works. 

After spending 60 years in France, she died in her estate, the Chateau de Beaufresnes in Le Mesnil Théribus, north west of Paris, although interestingly, she never took French nationality.

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Healthy Food, Farming is Focus of Tomorrow’s Child & Family’s ‘Farm to Fork’ Benefit Event


Traditional plowing methods are used at New Mercies Farm where the June 16 ‘Farm to Fork’ event will be held.

AREAWIDE — How much do you know about the food you eat?  Do you know where it was grown, or how was it planted, cultivated, and harvested? Were any harmful chemicals used? How healthy was the soil it grew in? Or the water that nourished it?

Farm to Fork: The Sustainable Life is a day spent at a local, family-owned farm learning about sustainable farming, organic practices, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), and how all of this works together to provide healthy, clean, and locally grown food to our families, restaurants, schools, markets, and shops. It takes place on Saturday, June 16, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at New Mercies Farm in Lyme.

Baylee Drown and Ryan Quinn, the owner/operators of New Mercies Farm and the farmers at Upper Pond Farm in Old Lyme, are opening New Mercies Farm to us for this one-of-a-kind experience. Baylee and Quinn are both educated farmers, with degrees in biology, education, and sustainable food systems, and apply that knowledge to their farming practices. But farming is more than a job for them; it’s a way of life.

Drown was raised on a dairy farm in Michigan; and Quinn, a Lyme native, grew up surrounded by farmland. Their goal is to feed their community with healthy, beautiful, and tasty produce and to do this in the most ecologically sustainable way. Baylee and Quinn will share with us how they do this and why, while they discuss such topics as the importance of soil health, natural ways to fight pests, how to combat erosion, and more.

Farm to Fork attendees will tour the farm fields and hoop houses where produce is growing at various stages of development. You’ll see the farm in action — and may even get your hands dirty! Presentations on CSAs, displays on nutrition and organic foods, and planting demonstrations will offer valuable information that you can take with you to use in your own garden or to inform the food choices you make and improve the quality of the food your family consumes.
And for a true “farm to table” experience, attendees at Farm to Fork will also enjoy (included with their ticket) a delicious boxed lunch, creatively catered by Coffee’s Country Market of Old Lyme, which will incorporate ingredients grown at this very farm.
Farm to Fork: The Sustainable Life takes place on Saturday, June 16, from 11am to 3pm, rain or shine.  Advance tickets for Farm to Fork are $45, which includes tours, talks, presentations, and a boxed lunch. 
NOTE: Tickets are limited to 200, and advance purchases are strongly encouraged. Ticket availability cannot be guaranteed on June 16. (Tickets purchased on June 16, IF AVAILABLE, will be priced at $50. Tickets are available now online by visiting http://www.childandfamilyagency.org/event/farmtofork/ and clicking on the Eventbrite link; or download an order form and send a check (made out to Child & Family Agency) to P.O. Box 324, Old Lyme, CT 06371.

Questions?  Email cfa.lolauxiliary@gmail.com.  Follow us on facebook at www.facebook.com/events/2034637750188871/.

 

Proceeds from Farm to Fork will benefit the programs and projects of Child & Family Agency of Southeastern Connecticut, a private, nonprofit organization whose mission is to nurture children and families to develop their strengths through service, partnership, and advocacy. With offices in New London, Essex, and Groton, and a professional staff of 170, Child & Family Agency is the largest nonprofit children’s service provider in southeastern Connecticut.
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“Boost Your Brain & Write” Today in East Haddam

EAST HADDAM – A newly formed monthly “Boost Your Brain & Write” group will meet on Wednesday, June 13, from 1 to 3 p.m. at Morefit, LLC, 62 Creamery Road in East Haddam. Writers of all levels and genres are welcome to join this unique monthly writing and wellness group.

This event includes one hour writing instruction, writing and peer critique, 15 minutes wellness exercise, and 15 minute Craniosacral Therapy (optional). Cost is $20 per person. Walk-ins are welcome.

For more information or to sign up, email Srwaide@cs.com or sign up at www.meetup.com “Boost Your Brain and Write” under Health and Wellness or Writing. If you can’t meet during the day and would like to participate in an evening group, email your preferred time to Srwaide@cs.com.

As part of this unique writing/wellness workshop, you will learn how Craniosacral Therapy (CST) can help you booth your creativity and improve your inner balance. You will have the opportunity to experience the benefits of Craniosacral Therapy.

Instructors will be Susan R. Waide, who is a memoir teacher/coach, college professor, and writer/editor and Maryla Radziszewski, a licensed Massage Therapist, Craniosacral Therapist, Personal Trainer, Health Coach, and owner of Morefit LLC.

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Essex Library Hosts ‘Meet The Author’ Event This Evening with Verlyn Klinkenborg

Verlyn Klinkenborg gives an Author Talk, June 12, at Essex Library.

ESSEX — Join Essex Public Library in welcoming author Verlyn Klinkenborg on Tuesday, June 12, at 7 p.m. His talk is titled Choosing A Book: The Author and The Reader. 

Klinkenborg comes from a family of Iowa farmers and is the author of Making Hay and The Last Fine Time. A member of the editorial board of the New York Times from 1997 to 2013, he has written for The New Yorker, Harper’s, Esquire, National Geographic, Mother Jones, and the New York Times Magazine, among others.

His essays on rural life were a beloved regular feature in the New York Times for many years. He lives on a small farm in upstate New York and teaches in the English Department at Yale.

This special event is free and open to the public. The Essex Library is located at 33 West Avenue in Essex.

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CT River Museum Presents Book Talk on ‘Archipelago New York,’ Cruise Aboard ‘Onrust’ with Author, Thursday

Under Sail: Author Thomas Halaczinsky will share his experiences aboard Sojourn in an illustrated talk and on an evening cruise aboard Onrust at the Connecticut River Museum, June 14. Photo: Thomas Halaczinsky.

ESSEX — Enjoy a modern day exploration tracing Adriaen Block’s 1614 journey.

On Thursday, June 14, at 5:30 p.m. Thomas Halaczinsky will share his adventures in a talk, followed by an evening cruise aboard Onrust. Halaczinsky’s new book Archipelago New York documents the photos and thoughts that he captured on a 3,000 nautical mile sailing expedition into the island world of New York.

With a bunch of historical books and maps, a camera and an open mind, the German-born photographer, writer, and filmmaker departed from Brooklyn toward Long Island Sound and beyond. He followed Adriaen Block, a fellow European 400 years his senior, who had discovered the island world that stretches from Manhattan to Fishers Island on the Onrust, a wooden boat 14 and a half feet longer than Thomas’ fiberglass sloop Sojourn (built in 1980).

Book Cover: Archipelago New York, by Thomas Halaczinsky documents the author’s journey retracing the routes sailed by Adriaen Block in 1614. Photo by Thomas Halaczinsky.

Intrigued by mysterious names like Money Island, Pot Island and Rats Island, the artist delved into a search for a sense of place. From this journey, Thomas brings back stunning photography, historical facts and thrilling stories of explorers, pirates, and an African prince who tragically ended up as a slave on Fishers Island – twice.

Following the lecture, Thomas will join the audience for a sunset sail on the Onrust. Weather permitting, the artist will sail to Connecticut River Museum on his boat, the Sojourn, and arrive on its dock on the afternoon before the lecture. 

To register for the program, call the Connecticut River Museum at 860.767.8269 x110. Space is limited. The lecture is free; tickets for the cruise are $38.

Onrust: The Onrust, a replica of Adriaen Block’s 1614 exploration vessel, will host Thomas Halaczinsky for a special evening cruise June 14th. Please call the Connecticut River Museum to register. Photo: George Bekrist.

In 1614, the Dutch explorer Adriaen Block and his crew investigated coastal New York, Long Island, Connecticut, and Rhode Island in pursuit of developing trade partnerships with Native Americans.  Block became the first known European to travel up the Connecticut River to just north of Hartford (a distance of approximately 60 miles from Long Island Sound). 

The re-created Onrust was launched in 2009 by The Onrust Project, an all-volunteer non-profit out of New York, built the vessel after painstakingly researching traditional Dutch shipbuilding techniques.  The Museum and the Project have again partnered to bring the vessel to Connecticut.

The Onrust will be a floating exhibit at the Museum through early October.  She will be open for dockside tours, school and Scout programs, along with public cruises and charters.  Public cruises run June – October, Thursdays – Mondays at 2 pm, 4 pm, and 6 pm (sunset) on Friday & Saturday.  For more information on the Connecticut River Museum and the Onrust, please visit the Museum’s website. 

The Connecticut River Museum is located on the Essex waterfront at 67 Main Street in Essex and is open daily from 10 am to 5 pm. The Museum, located in the historic Steamboat Dock building, offers exhibits and programs about the history and environment of the Connecticut River. For a full listing of Museum programs please visit www.ctrivermuseum.org or call 860-767-8269.

  1. Book Cover: Archipelago New York, by Thomas Halaczinsky documents the author’s journey retracing the routes sailed by Adriaen Block in 1614.  Photo by Thomas Halaczinsky.
  2. Under Sail: Author Thomas Halaczinsky will share his experiences aboard Sojourn in an illustrated talk and on an evening cruise aboard Onrust at the Connecticut River Museum, June 14. Photo: Thomas Halaczinsky.
  3. Onrust:  The Onrust, a replica of Adriaen Block’s 1614 exploration vessel, will host Thomas Halaczinsky for a special evening cruise June 14th. Please call the Connecticut River Museum to register. Photo: George Bekrist.
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Photographer Elin Dolle to Exhibit her Work at Essex Library Through June

This photo is one of the signature works by Elin Dolle on view at Essex Library during June.

ESSEX — Photography has always been a part of Elin Dolle’s life going back to childhood when she received her first camera at age 8 or 9. She enjoyed documenting the places she traveled as a child in a military family and as an adult on vacations. It was after a career in education that she decided to branch out and take her photography to a different level.

About three years ago she decided to combine her love of photography with her love of animals. She started photographing rescue horses and was amazed at their strength and resilience in the face of some horrific treatment. The more time she spent with them the more she came to respect and admire them. “Their ability to forgive and trust again after what they’ve been through is humbling.”

Another of Elin Dolle’s remarkable photos, which is on view at Essex Library.

In that work, Strength and Resilience, as well as in her present project, Grace and Beauty, Dolle strives to depict not only the horses’ physical beauty, their strength and gentleness, but more importantly their dignity, and just maybe a glimpse into their souls.

Her work has been shown in galleries throughout Connecticut; she has won numerous awards and has been published in several magazines including Black and White Photography magazine.  It will be on display at the Essex Library throughout the month of June.

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Letter to the Editor: State Rep., Now State Senate Candidate, Ziobron Reviews Recent Activities

To the Editor:

The 2018 legislative session is now behind us. A bipartisan budget was passed that reflects the difficult realities facing Connecticut. This budget begins to address our future in a more realistic and balanced
fashion. We need to stay this course, now more than ever.

This was my sixth legislative session. I’m hopeful that we will continue to bring forward fiscally conservative budget-balancing efforts in the next session and beyond. We cannot revert to the business as usual mindset that has plagued Hartford for decades.  As we transition from spring to summer, my attention is naturally
shifting to my campaign to serve the 12 towns of the 33rd District.

Here’s a recap of recent activities:

Over the last few weeks, I made a point to meet with individuals and businesses in the southern portion of the district, including Essex, Clinton, Westbrook and Old Saybrook. In addition, I have also met with voters at budget referendums in East Hampton, Old Saybrook, Clinton and Portland. The expressed voter concerns — which I share —center on controlling the cost of living and making our state more competitive. I was pleased to hear strong support for my work towards balancing our state budget, reducing wasteful spending and fighting against unnecessary tax increases.

I also visited with the great folks at Petzold’s Marine Center in Portland and joined State Rep. Christie Carpino during office hours at Quarry Ridge Golf Course. Key topics included cutting government red tape and concern about the effort to place tolls on our state highways. I rounded out this tour by highlighting the Airline Trail system with events in Colchester and East Hampton.

For more campaign information please visit my campaign website melissaziobron.com. You can also follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Sincerely,

Melissa Ziobron,
State Representative 34th District
East Haddam, East Hampton, Colchester.

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Essex Garden Club Awards Scholarships to Area Students

ESSEX — The Essex Garden Club recently awarded college scholarships to three area students, as follows:

  • Elizabeth Beckman of Ivoryton, a 2018 graduate of Valley Regional High School, will attend the University of New Hampshire to study Environmental Law and Conservation. 
  • Annie Brown of Essex, who attends the University of Vermont, is pursuing a major in Elementary Education with a minor in Environmental Studies.
  • Daniel Taylor of Ivoryton attends Vassar College, where he is majoring in Biology.

The Garden Club is also proud to provide “camperships” to help young children from Essex, Ivoryton and Centerbrook attend local nature camps. This year, funds were given to the Essex Parks and Recreation Summer Program for 25 children to attend their nature and science sessions.  Additional funding was given to the Bushy Hill Nature Center to enable four students to attend their day camp.

The Essex Garden Club sincerely thanks all who support the annual May Market. This is the club’s only fundraising event and the proceeds enable the Club to offer these scholarships each year.

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Ziobron Endorsed Unanimously by Republicans as Candidate for 33rd State Senate District

AREAWIDE — State Representative Melissa Ziobron (R-34) was the unanimous choice for more than 40 Republican delegates at a nominating convention. Delegates from 12 towns gathered at East Haddam’s Old Town Hall on May 14 and enthusiastically endorsed Ziobron for the position.

Nominating Ziobron was current State Senator Art Linares, Jr. (R-33) of Westbrook.

“Melissa has been an incredibly effective representative, both in Hartford and in her district; I am honored to place her name into nomination,” said Linares.

Linda Grzeika of Colchester seconded Linares’s motion, stating that she resides in a part of Colchester not located in Ziobron’s district.

“I’m thrilled that she will finally represent all of Colchester as our state senator,” said Grzeika.

In her acceptance speech, Representative Ziobron promised that she would be a tireless campaigner.

“All of you are going to see a lot of me over the next seven months,” stated Ziobron. “I love the Connecticut River Valley and the shoreline and I can’t wait to be your voice in Hartford.”

Ziobron currently represents the towns of Colchester, East Haddam, and East Hampton. She is currently serving her third, two-year term in the State Legislature.

Linares was first elected in 2010; he is seeking the Republican nomination for state treasurer.

The 33rd District encompasses the towns of Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook (part), Portland, and Westbrook.

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Sing for Joy! Cappella Cantorum Hosts Vocal Camp in Old Saybrook, July 23-27

AREAWIDE — Bring the joy of singing to your summer by attending Cappella Cantorum’s Summer Vocal Camp July 23 to July 27 from 7 to 9:30 p.m. at St. Paul Lutheran Church on Great Hammock Road in Old Saybrook.

Founder of the Salt Marsh Opera and Cappella’s music director Simon Holt and nationally known tenor Brian Cheney will lead instructive sessions on improving singing skills and how to sing in a choral environment.

Physical therapist Bonnie Brenneman will talk on strengthening diaphragm muscles to improve breathing.

Each evening will consist of two workshops – one in vocal production and one in music theory. A short concert will be given by participants at the end of the week. Camp will be limited to 100 singers. Anyone interested in improving their singing from high school students to adults are encouraged to come and perfect their art.

The church is air conditioned. Cost will be $85. For more information or to register, visit CappellaCantorum.org. or e-mail wrspearrin@yahoo.com.

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Acton Public Library Offers Teen Summer Reading Program

Attention readers in Grades 6 to 12!

Join Acton Public Library’s Teen Summer Reading Program by registering with Wandoo Reader on our Library website, to track each book you read this summer. For every book you read, you will have a chance to enter an online weekly raffle for a $10 gift card. And remember, audiobooks count as reading too.

The Summer Reading Program runs from June 15 through August 4.  You can register through the library’s website at actonlibrary.org. This program is free and open to all.

A special program for teens, Snakes of Connecticut, will take place on Wednesday, July 25, at 6:30 p.m. Riverside Reptiles is bringing eight live snakes that are native to Connecticut. Learn about all 14 species of snakes that reside in our state through an informative Powerpoint presentation. Then meet eight indigenous snakes, including the Northern Copperhead.

This program is only open to teens, young adults, adults or serious students in grade 6 and above only, and is not open to children. Register at actonlibrary.org or by calling 860-395-3184.

This program is generously sponsored by the Friends of Acton Public Library.

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Showcase Your Collection at Deep River Public Library

DEEP RIVER — Do you have a collection that you’d like to show off? Consider booking space at the Deep River Public Library to showcase your collection for the community to enjoy.

The Deep River Library has two display cases of varying size.  The library is always looking for more collections to display. If you have one to share, call or drop by the library to schedule a date to display your collection!

For more information,  visit http://deepriverlibrary.accountsupport.com and click on our monthly calendar, or call the library at 860-526-6039 during service hours: Monday 1 – 8pm; Tuesday 10 am – 6 pm; Wednesday 12:30 – 8 pm; Thursday and Friday 10 am – 6 pm; and Saturday 10 am – 5 pm.

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‘Run for Something’ Endorses Matt Pugliese for Connecticut General Assembly

Matt Pugliese

Matt Pugliese has received the endorsement of Run for Something (RfS), the groundbreaking organization that recruits and supports strong voices in the next generation of progressive leadership.

“I am excited and honored to be endorsed by Run for Something. Hearing about the work that was being done by this organization to help encourage candidates to step forward was a motivating force in my own decision to run for office. I want to work to make a difference in our community.  This is a crucial moment in our state and our nation. I’m proud to be among the candidates stepping forward,” said Pugliese.

“RFS endorses candidates on two major criteria: heart and hustle. That’s what defines viability to us,” said Ross Morales Rocketto, RFS co founder. “These are candidates who are going to work hard to run grassroots, community-led campaigns. We are a critical time in history and the momentum these candidates generate will have a lasting impact for years to come.”

A selection of statistics from RfS are:

  • 40 first or second time candidates endorsed this month
  • RFS has endorsed 409 candidates total, from 45 states. 256 candidates have upcoming elections.
  • Campaign budgets range from $3000 to $300,000
  • Win numbers range from 645 to 100,000 votes

The endorsement process includes an extensive internal review with background check, staff interview and insight from local state experts.

Amanda Litman and Ross Morales Rocketto launched RfS on Jan. 20, 2017 with a premise to help young diverse progressives to run for down-ballot races in order to build a bench for the future. RfS aims to lower the barriers to entry for these candidates by helping them with seed money, organization building, and access to trainings needed to be successful. So far, about 18,000 young people from across the country have signed up as candidates and gained access to RfS resources.

Run for Something recruits and supports talented, young people who advocate for progressive values now and for the next 30 years, with the ultimate goal of building a progressive bench.

Matt Pugliese is running for State Representative in the 23rd District.  Pugliese is a non-profit theatre arts administrator and Chair of the Old Saybrook Economic Development Commission.  He holds his Masters in Public Administration from UCONN and lives in Old Saybrook with his wife and their two daughters. Learn more at mattpugliesect.com and at Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at mattpugliesect.

For more information, visit www.runforsomething.net

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Talking Transportation: Connecticut: Love It or Leave It

The recent debate over tolling our highways should remind us of just how divided our state has become.  Not red vs. blue and not even just upstate vs. downstate.  The real divide is between those who commute by car vs. those who take mass transit.

I’ve written for years about the fact that riders on Metro-North pay the highest commuter rail fares in the US, and those fares will only keep going up.  Most rail riders have little choice, especially if headed to New York City.  What are they going to do … drive?

Yet every time the fares go up … and they have increased 55 percent since 2002 … ridership goes up as well.  Why?  Because conditions on the highways keep getting worse and worse.

But those who chose to drive, or must because there’s no viable mass transit option, seem literally to hate rail commuters.  I think it’s jealousy.  During the tolls debate, the venom was dripping and one Tweet in particular hit home.

“Just because your commute (by train) is so expensive doesn’t mean mine (by car) should be too (because of tolling),” read the post.

The driver had clearly missed the point.  We aren’t looking for tolls to subsidize rail fares, just to get motorists to pay for the upkeep of their roads and bridges before we have another Mianus River Bridge collapse, which we will.

But it gets worse.

The anti-toll forces now sound like Howard Beale, the deranged newsman from the movie “Network” who was “mad as hell and not going to take it anymore.”   Doubtless, much of this is directed at Governor Malloy who enjoys (suffers from?) the lowest popularity rating in the history of polling.  Sure, the economy of our state is in bad shape.   But Malloy didn’t create this economic mess.  He just inherited it and mishandled it.

And it will get far worse, whoever succeeds Malloy in the fall.  The solutions will be few and all will be painful.  Forestalling tolls and gasoline taxes today won’t stop the bridges from rotting.

But this opposition to tolls or modest gasoline tax increases to pay for roads has now been taken to a maniacal pitch predicting that “everyone is leaving the state,” conditions are so bad.   That’s fine with me.

I was recently at our town dump and saw a young man unloading a bunch of items.  “My parents are moving,” he told me.  “Everyone is leaving Connecticut!” he exclaimed.

“Really?”, I asked.

“It’s all Malloy’s fault,” he said, sounding like a Pied Piper leading a caravan down I-95 to some Promised Land.

I asked him one question:  “Did your parents sell their house?”   “Sure,” he said.  “And at a profit over what they paid for it.”

“Well,” I said, “I guess not everyone is leaving.  Your folks are moving out and someone else is moving in.”  Someone who wants to live here.

To those who hate it so much living in Connecticut, I extend an invitation:  please leave.  Enjoy your low-tax destination.  And don’t forget to pay those highway tolls as you drive down I-95 through NY, NJ, etc.

But enough already with the “I hate Connecticut” mantra.  Some of us actually like living here.  And losing ‘the haters” will only mean fewer cars on our roadways.

Posted with permission of Hearst CT Media.

Jim Cameron

About the author: Jim Cameron is founder of The Commuter Action Group, and a member of the Darien RTM.  The opinions expressed in this column are only his own.  You can reach him at CommuterActionGroup@gmail.com

For a full collection of  “Talking Transportation” columns, visit www.talkingtransportation.blogspot.com

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Needleman Applauds State Aid to Essex for Valley Shore Emergency Communications

Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman stands with Paul Fazzino, President of Valley Shore Emergency Response after the announcement was made.

ESSEX — After years of planning and local town coordination, the Valley Shore Emergency Communications received critical state funding to upgrade emergency communications for numerous towns in the region. 

The State Bond Commission approved $1.25 million in grant-in-aid to the Town of Essex on behalf of the Valley Shore Emergency Communications, Inc. The funding will be used for upgrades to the outdated emergency radio dispatch system serving 11 towns. The upgrades will interconnect all member towns and allow coordination with adjoining systems to allow for better communication for police, fire and ambulances.

“I want to thank the tremendous work of the various public safety departments to make today a reality,” said Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman. “Throughout this process we worked together to bring our local emergency communications into the 21st century. This new funding will strengthen the safety of our towns and allow our public safety employees to better serve our communities.”

Valley Shore Emergency Communications serves the towns of Chester, Deep River, Durham, East Haddam, Essex, Haddam, Killingworth, Lyme, Middlefield, Old Lyme, and Westbrook. 

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Essex Annual Shad Bake to be Held Today

Preparing Shad – Rotary Club of Essex volunteers prepare shad the traditional way by nailing them onto oak boards and using a specially prepared rub.

 

One of our State’s great culinary customs returns to the Connecticut River Museum Saturday, June 2, from 3 to 6 p.m. with the 2018 Essex Annual Shad Bake.  For 60 years, the Rotary Club of Essex has been proudly holding this annual rite of spring, nailing delicious American shad onto oak planks and roasting them around a large bonfire.  Share this wonderful Connecticut tradition with your family and friends.

Shad baking around the fire.

This year’s Bake is made possible through the generous support of Guilford Savings Bank and AJ Shea Construction.  Additional support comes from The JECM Foundation, Norman Needleman & Jacqueline Hubbard, Essex Savings Bank/Essex Financial Services, Middlesex Hospital, Gallagher Buick GMC Inc., and many other sponsors.

Representatives from the two lead sponsors, Bake Master Joseph Shea of AJ Shea Construction (left), and David Carswell Branch Manager of Guildford Savings Bank (center) join Connecticut River Museum Executive Director Chris Dobbs to celebrate the upcoming Shad Bake.

The Museum’s executive director, Christopher Dobbs said “We are pleased to host and partner with the Rotary Club of Essex on this iconic event that celebrates part of the Connecticut River’s heritage and supports the many worthwhile projects of Rotary and Museum.”

This volunteer-run event has been organized by the Rotary Club of Essex and is coordinated by Bake Master Joseph Shea. Shea comments,“We offer one of the most unique culinary traditions in New England at one of the most majestic and historic locations. It is a winning combination!”

In addition to delicious food on Saturday, the Connecticut River Museum docks welcomes the Onrust for a second season of sailing on the Connecticut River.

The historic replica vessel Onrust will be docked at the Connecticut River Museum through mid October for public cruises and programs. Photo by Judy Preston.

At the shad bake, a variety of activities take place throughout the afternoon. Join JB Lundgren for a deboning demonstration, Saybrook Point Inn Marina and Spa for a presentation on how to cook shad roe, and Al Moncovich for a shad wood carving exhibit.  Always popular is Tim Visel’s historical diorama display of shad fishing through the years.  The Connecticut River Conservancy, The Shad Museum in Haddam and the Connecticut River Museum will also offer programs on the history and traditions of the shad fishery.

For shad lovers, the lure is the secret ingredients and the authentic method of preparing and baking the fish, which has been handed down through generations of Connecticut natives.  Nailed onto oak planks with salt pork and placed in front of the bonfire, the fish picks up the smoky flavor of the fire and the seasoned oak boards on which it is baked. Add to this delicacy homemade potato salad, tossed green salad, and pie from Lyman Orchards and your shad experience is complete.

Bill Hoffstetler demonstrates the fine art of removing bones from shad — a fish referred to by local Native Americans as the “inside out porcupine.”

Don’t care for shad?  Grilled chicken is also available. In addition to the food, participants will be able to enjoy live music and tour the Museum, which will be open until 6 p.m.  The vibrant atmosphere is enhanced with picnickers and the delicious smell of shad baking around the open fire.

Buy your tickets today.  The $30 adult (shad or chicken dinner option) and $10 child (10 and under) ticket includes the full meal (child ticket includes a hot dog and salads) and admission to the Museum.  Tickets will be an additional $5 on the day of the event.

Beer, wine and soda will be available for purchase with a valid ID.  Freshly shucked clams and oysters will also be available at an additional price beginning at 3:00 pm. No carry-in alcohol will be permitted.

To purchase tickets, visit shop.ctrivermuseum.org or buy them in person at the Centerbrook Package Store, Essex Hardware, or the Connecticut River Museum.  There will be no parking on the Museum grounds and on-street parking is very limited.  On the day of the event, a free shuttle will be running between the Museum and the Essex Town Hall parking lot.

The Connecticut River Museum is located on the Essex waterfront at 67 Main Street and is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., closed Mondays until after Memorial Day. The Museum, located in the historic Steamboat Dock building, offers exhibits and programs about the history and environment of the Connecticut River.

For a full listing of Museum programs and events, visit www.ctrivermuseum.org or call 860-767-8269.

The Rotary Club of Essex is the local chapter of Rotary International whose membership is made up of service minded professionals.  The club and its members are committed to improving the community, connecting with other professionals, sharing their time and experience with the young, supporting global causes, and using their skills to help others.

For more information about the Shad Bake and Rotary Club visit http://www.rotaryclubofessex.com.

Photo Captions:

  1. Members of The Rotary Club of Essex season and plank the Shad to cook in front of the fire just as it has been done for hundreds of years.
  2. Representative from the two lead sponsors, Bake Master Joseph Shea of AJ Shea Construction, and David Carswell Branch Manager of Guildford Savings Bank join Connecticut River Museum Executive Director Chris Dobbs to celebrate the upcoming Shad Bake.
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Family Wellness: New Beginnings

Spring is a time of renewal and rebirth.  Every year in New England nature reminds us of this.  Crocuses emerge, the landscape turns from brown to green and many animals have their babies: foxes, otters and black bears, just to name a few. 

I look fondly back on my grandmother’s stories about lambing season in Ireland.  Human babies are born year round, of course, but my thoughts went this month from lambs to human babies. 

Not only is birth the start of a new life but it is the start of a new (or newly reconfigured) family.  It is often a time of unimaginable joy, but it is also a time of stress.  Stress is defined as, “… bodily or mental tension resulting from factors that tend to alter an existent equilibrium.”

Few could argue that a new baby alters an existent equilibrium in ways that are delightful and challenging at the same time.  A new member (in this case tiny and cute) affects the family identity in that constellation in a whole array of ways: emotionally, physically, socially and economically.  All the resources, whether few or many, need to be allocated differently.

Just as adolescence has been described as the transition from childhood to adulthood, the transition to motherhood has been called “matrescence” by anthropologists — for more information, visit this link.  A similar term for the transition to fatherhood does not exist as far as I know, though it has received attention in both academic and popular circles and the media, with online forums such as fathersforum.com. Similarly some attention has been given to the transition to grandparenthood and “older-sibling-hood.”  (I am waiting for an especially gifted and precocious 3-year-old to blog about the challenges of losing attention to a tiny usurper in the house.)

Societies and cultures around the world have different constructs that help or hinder the development of a new family.  These constructs range from policies (paid parental leave) to the practical matters (village and neighborhood folks bringing food to the new family). 

Looking at and understanding how we can support families in transition at this stage of the family life cycle and the stressors that they face (stress being a challenge to equilibrium, not positive or negative) can only be a good thing.

Betsy Groth

Betsy Groth is an APRN, PMHS – BC and a pediatric nurse practitioner with advanced certification in pediatric mental health.

She is a counselor, mental health educator and parent coach in Old Lyme and writes a monthly column for us on ‘Family Wellness.’

For more information about Betsy and her work, visit Betsy’s website at betsygroth.com

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